People

 

John Drake

Regent’s Professor

jdrake@uga.edu | personal web page | CV | Google Scholar ORCID ID

Research Interests
John M. Drake is Professor of Ecology at the University of Georgia. His research seeks to understand the dynamics of biological populations and epidemics, focusing on how to bring experimental and observational data together with mathematical theory. Biological phenomena of interest include extinction, fluctuations in variable environments, the spatial distribution of populations (niche theory), Allee effects, demographic stochasticity, spatial spread, and near-critical dynamics. Practical applications of this work include decision support for managing invasive species, mapping the spread of infectious diseases, and forecasting disease emergence. Current projects concern the dynamics of Ebola virus in West Africa, spread of White-nose Syndrome in bats, and the development of a new theory for early warning systems of emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Drake has an interest in history and philosophy of modern (twentieth century) biology. Dr. Drake received his PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California from 2004-2006. He has been at the University of Georgia since 2006. He was Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University in 2012.

Teaching

Spring 2023 Classes:

  • ECOL 4950 Senior Seminar
  • ECOL 2300 Global Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • GRSC 7001 GradFirst Seminar

Fall 2022 Classes:

  • FYOS 1001 First Year Odyssey Seminar, Ecology of Infectious Disease
  • ECOL 4000/6000 Population and Community Ecology

Past Classes:

  • ECOL 8310 Population and Evolutionary Ecology (Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2013)
  • ECOL 4000/6000 Population and Community Ecology (Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
  • ECOL 8520 Fundamentals of Disease Biology II (Spring 2017)
  • ECOL 8910 Multi-scale Modeling (Spring 2017)
  • ECOL 8910 Ecological Niche Theory and Species Distribution Modeling (Spring 2016)
  • ECOL 8910 Introduction to Computational Statistics (Spring 2015)
  • ECOL 8910 Quantifying Biodiversity (Spring 2014)
  • ECOL 8910 Nonlinear Time Series Analysis (Spring 2011)
  • ECOL 8910 Time Series Analysis (Fall 2010)
  • ECOL 8910 Meta-analysis (Spring 2010)
  • ECOL 8990 Data Visualization (Fall 2008)
  • ECOL 8990 Introduction to Applied Statistics (Fall 2007)
  • ECOL 4950 Senior Seminar (Fall 2006, Spring 2013)
  • FYOS 1001 First Year Odyssey Seminar (Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2016, Spring 2017)

Affiliations

  • Odum School of Ecology (2006-present)
  • Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute (2008-present)
  • Faculty of Infectious Disease (2008-present)

Eric Marty

Research Professional

emarty@uga.edu | website: http://www.ericmarty.com/

Digital Arts Fellow, Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts (https://willson.uga.edu/)

Research Interests

My current work is focused on data visualization, data sonification, and multi-modal data representation. I am concerned with creating data representations optimized for exploration, analysis or communication. I rely on principles of visual and auditory perception to increase efficiency of communication and reduce bias. I am particularly interested in problems involving high-dimensional and time-based data, where standard visualization tools often fall short.

As a composer with a background in computer music, interactive art and design, I have long worked at the intersection of art and science. My creative work centers on emulating natural systems and integrating art with environment. The works are typically site-specific installations or performances embedded in the environment, and involve real-time stochastic audio synthesis algorithms, sensing and interactivity, and multi-channel sound spatialization. More about my creative work can be found here.

As Digital Arts Fellow at UGA’s Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts, I help build interdisciplinary collaborations among the arts and sciences.


John Paul Schmidt

Assistant Research Scientist

jpschmidt720@gmail.com | Odum Directory: JP Schmidt

Published Works: Google Scholar

Research Interests

Much of my published research consists of comparative studies using machine learning algorithms to classify taxa according to labels (e.g., invasive vs non-invasive, zoonotic reservoir vs non-reservoir) with the aim of predicting new invasive or zoonotic reservoir species, statistical analyses of spatial and spatio-temporal data, species distribution models, and models that combine ecological and economic factors. I have extensive experience with multidisciplinary collaborative projects, and both formal and informal collaborative working groups including the Macroecology of Infectious Disease Research Coordination Network. A significant feature of my research has been the regular collaboration with economists to 1) develop cost-sensitive tools for identifying potentially invasive plant and rare plant species; 2) estimate the value of ecosystem services in collaboration with economists, geographers, and ecosystem ecologists; and 3) explain harvest pressure on wild plants (ginseng) as a function of both environmental factors related to quantity and quality of habitat and socioeconomic factors driving human behavior.


Kerri-Ann Anderson

Postdoctoral Associate

Research Interests

My past research utilized mathematical and computational models of cultural evolution to simulate the evolution of vaccine belief-behavior interactions. Using cultural evolutionary frameworks, I have examined the effects of individual- and population-level vaccination beliefs and behaviors as well as the effects of decision-making biases, changing social networks, and influencer strength, on vaccine culture disease risk. My current goals as part of the Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention (PIPP) Phase 1 project team are to perform a series of analyses to identify and assess survey measures that most inform health-related intentions, behaviors, and public support, and incorporate evolving health decision-making strategies into dynamical models of disease transmission and health-behavior adoption.


 

Alpha Forna

Postdoctoral Associate

Research Interests

I am interested in the adaptation and application of machine learning methods for the analysis of epidemiological and biological data. For my doctoral research, I developed and analyzed machine learning models to predict survival outcomes for Ebola cases and re-estimated more representative estimates of case fatality ratios. I applied these models to produce more complete maps of Ebola case fatality ratios in West Africa, maps that include spatial residuals not captured by the machine learning models. During my time with the Drake and Rohani labs, I will develop machine learning based influenza prediction tools that could identify mutating influenza viruses as anomalous viral protein sequences. I will apply these predictive tools to detect novel influenza viruses with pandemic potential.


 

Sukanta Sarkar

Postdoctoral Associate

Research Interests

My current work is focused on mathematical modeling of living systems with theoretical descriptions of various biological phenomena. Many complex systems can undergo sudden catastrophic transitions to a contrasting state upon reaching the threshold value of a control parameter. During my time with the Drake Lab, I will be working on the statistical analysis of consumer behavior in a real-world social contagion system and social tipping points in infectious disease transmission. I will also explore whether early warning signals are detectable in such systems and which perform most robustly.


 

Anurag Sau

Postdoctoral Associate

Research Interests

I want to encapsulate several ecological phenomena through mathematical and statistical models. My thesis mainly focuses on the extinction status of ecological beneficiary species due to harvesting. To understand these studies, I have focused on the two most essential yardsticks, such as sustainability of a species and optimal control of renewable resources. These research arenas have been justified through several mathematical models in both deterministic and stochastic approaches. During my postdoc with the Drake Lab, I will work with Daphnia (zoo-plankton) in both experimental and theoretical approaches in the metacommunity and observe its extinction status. I also use it to elaborate on the geometry of metapopulation extinction.


 

Anna Willoughby

PhD Candidate

Anna.Willoughby@uga.edu
co-advised by Dr. Sonia Altizer (www.altizerlab.org)

Research Interests
I study how wildlife behavior, disease, and communities change across various anthropogenic gradients. I approach these questions through complementary modeling and field methods. In the past, I’ve looked at dynamics of macroparasites in South African baboons and virus diversity among cave-roosting bats. Ultimately, I hope my research will be translated into conservation and wildlife management policy.


 

Nicholas Adam

PhD Student

Nicholas.Adam@uga.edu

Research Interests

I am interested in infectious disease intelligence and forecasting, including tipping points and early warning signals, and how these interact with and inform policies for managing endemic infectious diseases in low resource settings.


 

Abdul Ali

PhD Student

Abdul.Ali@uga.edu

Research Interests
My current focus is on comprehending the intricate webs of Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) dynamics and transmission and mapping the ebbs and flows of outbreaks over the past decade. I am also interested in developing a comprehensive database of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs). I hope to contribute a broader perspective to the understanding of infectious diseases dynamics impacting global health.


 

Kane Moser

PhD Student

skmoser@uga.edu

I am broadly interested in finding ways to synthesize empirical and theoretical approaches to understand the emergence and spread of infectious diseases at different scales. My specific interests include spatial analysis and risk mapping, host-parasite interactions, and the impacts of climate and biodiversity on zoonotic spillover. Currently, my work involves the ecology of emerging fungal pathogens as well as the dynamics of Ebola in West Africa.


 

Aarya Oza

Undergraduate Student Worker

Aarya.Oza@uga.edu

 


 

Erin Steele

Research Coordinator

Erin.Steele@uga.edu

 


Alumni

Post-docs (current position)

Graduate Students

  • Marcus Zokan (PhD, 2015)
  • Tad Dallas (PhD, 2016)
  • Sarah Bowden (PhD, 2016)
  • Michelle Evans (PhD, 2020)
  • Paige Miller (PhD, 2020)
  • Robbie Richards (PhD, 2021)
  • Joy Vaz (MS, 2021)
  • Reni Kaul (PhD, 2021)

REU Students

  • Dominic Gray, Norfolk State University (2014)
  • Trianna Humphrey, Tugaloo College (2014)
  • Paige Miller, Gustavus Adolphus (2014)
  • Abby Smith, Carnegie Mellon University (2014)
  • Evans Lodge, Calvin College (2015)
  • Annakate Schatz, Mount Holyoke College (2015)
  • Nikki Solano, Agnes Scott College (2015)
  • Tim Wildauer, Bethany Lutheran College (2015)
  • Richard Williams, Morehouse College (2015)
  • Chevana Dorris, Jackson State University (2016)
  • Yaw Kumi-Ansu, Emory University (2016)
  • Lexi Lerner, Brown University (2016)
  • Sarah Rainey, Radford University (2016)
  • Magdalene Walters, University of Notre Dame (2017)
  • Keri-Niyia Cooper, Savannah State University (2017)
  • Kennedy Houck, Ursinus College (2018)
  • JJ Taube, Bowdoin College (2019)

Research associates

  • Ryan Riley
  • Andrea Silletti
  • Prahlad Jat
  • Gordon Akudibillah
  • Zach McElrath
  • Arash Fard
  • Brian Christian
  • Tomlin Pulliam
  • Ana Rivera-Cruz
  • Annakate Schatz
  • Spencer Hall
  • Sophia Drewry

Visiting researchers

  • Kevin Drury
  • Eleanor Pardini
  • Elodie Vercken
  • Chris Michael
  • Dustin Tench
  • Jonathan Lillie
  • Keisha Pressley
  • Amanda Vincent

Undergraduates

  • Emmanuel Ayo
  • Danny Bruce
  • Amara Channell
  • Sarah Cressman
  • Brian Christian
  • Alicia Flowers
  • Mallory Harris
  • Ashley Janda
  • Kevin Knoblich
  • Aditya Krishnaswamy
  • Katie McCurdy
  • Michael McGuirk
  • Elizabeth Miller
  • Ronke Olowojesiku
  • Tierney O’Sullivan
  • Jack Owen
  • Deeran Patel
  • Tabita Popvici
  • Giovanni Righi
  • Jeff Shaprio
  • Lindsay Shay
  • David Stoker
  • Theresa Stratmann
  • Caroline Taylor
  • Jo Walker
  • Abby Wong
  • Katie Zarada